Archive for July, 2009

More on the SF Workshop at IIT – Kanpur

July 17, 2009

Being late and hurriedly written, this account is somewhat incoherent.  Re-writing it would take too long in my current state of time-zone zombied-ness.  My apologies.

For the first part of the report on the workshop, see here.

The workshop students continued to produce some wonderful work during my week.  Perhaps the best short, in-class writing exercises came from our discussion of SF and the Other, in particular the Animal Other.  We reviewed and discussed the science on animal emotions (which is to say, surprise, surprise, animals like mammals and birds and possibly others, have emotions!), and shared personal anecdotes about our own experience with animals.   The exercise was to write from the point of view of an animal.  We got some great responses, and I was interested to note how many people had picked insects.  No cutesy disneyfications — very cool stuff.

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Indigenous Amazonians confront Fossil Fools

July 15, 2009

This is inspiring:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-a-fight-for-the-amazon-that-should-inspire-the-world-1715927.html

But it also brings forth the question as to why Climate Change isn’t at the top of the coverage of our news media. 

I’m horribly jet-lagged but among the random thoughts jostling in my brain is this one: where is the science fiction about regular/ indigenous/ traditionally downpressed people in the world fighting climate change?  Because they are.  Maybe we SF writers should come out of little blinkered existences and take note of that.

More soon on the IIT workshop, etc.

P.S.  After posting this the first time I realized I meant to add this reference to an anthology of environmental SF.  Thanks to Bodhisattva (my student at IIT-K, whose knowledge of SF is impressive) for this reference:

Dream’s Edge, edited by Terry Carr, published in 1982.  The excerpt from the introduction, quoted on the amazon site, is well worth reading.

Being the Change: Badlaav 2009

July 13, 2009

Quick Note: I’m preparing Part II of my impressions of the Kanpur Workshop but may not have time to post it until after I return (I leave tonight for the US).  The same goes for comments folks have posted, to which I promise a reply when I’m back.  But I HAD to shout this out from my rooftop:

Badlaav 2009!  Check it out! 

Journey to Kanpur: Days One and Two of SF Workshop at IIT

July 4, 2009

 Note: I wrote this piece a few days ago and have only now gotten a chance to post it.  I’m back in the Delhi area.  More updates later.

On Sunday, June 28th,  my brother and brother-in-law took me to New Delhi Railway Station to catch the train to Kanpur.  The station was as crowded, messy and noisy as I remembered it (a web of intersecting human, machine and animal dramas), except that there were more platforms and many of the trains were blue.  The train was nearly two hours late so we stood on the platform in the early morning and talked or simply observed.  Kid picking trash up off the railway lines, village woman on the other side leaning her kid over so he could go potty over the tracks.  People sitting on their luggage, bored, waiting.  A man behind me, asleep on some grimy sheets of cardboard.  The day promising to repeat the white-hot temperatures of the past several days.  Crows looking ironical. 

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